Religion has played an important part in Bermuda’s history and there are many churches on the Island to remind you of it.
They have both interesting historical and architectural aspects, especially those that date back to the early days of colonisation. That’s the case of St. Anne’s Church, in the Parish of Southampton.
This beautiful Anglican parish church was built in 1616 by the first settlers and was then known as the Port Royal Church.
It was originally made of cedar wood and its roof thatched with palmetto. After a fire destroyed many of its features, the church was rebuilt in 1717 and the outside wood was replaced by the actual whitewashed building, which is considered to be one of the best examples of the Bermudian ecclesiastical architecture.
Cedar pews and woodwork have been kept inside the church and incorporated in some of the structural additions such as the navel and chapel in 1717, and the more recent west-end tower that was built in 1905.
The original bell was also replaced in 1780 and is now kept in the vestry where it is still visible. The new bell was said to be heard miles and miles away, as far as Hamilton, at a time when there were fewer houses on the Island.
St. Anne’s is believed to be one of the very first churches to have been erected on the Island and it has the particularity to claim the oldest records of baptism and marriage to take place in Bermuda, dating back from 1619. You can also see a silver chalice owned by the church that is engraved with the date 1603/4 and the name Port Royal Church.
The church is surrounded by its own picturesque graveyard, where you can learn more about the living conditions in the early days of Bermuda. You will instantly notice how short was the life expectancy at this time when reading the dates on most of the graves, as well as discovering the many tiny headstones that mark the graves of children and infants.
There is an active and multi-ethnic congregation at St. Anne’s always ready to welcome anyone who wants to take part in their Sunday services. It is not unusual for people to come from all over the world to get married here. The church is open daily from 10am to 4pm.
St. Anne’s church gave its name to Church Bay Beach, located immediately opposite, as well as to several streets in the vicinity, including the street it is on: Church Road.
St. Anne’s Church– Part of Elbow Beach Cycles ‘Things To Do’ in Bermuda series!
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